1) ADV: ADV after v If you move or look backwards, you move or look in the direction that your back is facing.

The diver flipped over backwards into the water...

He took two steps backward...

Bess glanced backwards...

Keeping your back straight, swing one leg backwards.

Backwards is also an adjective.

Without so much as a backwards glance, he steered her towards the car.

2) ADV: ADV after v If you do something backwards, you do it in the opposite way to the usual way.

He works backwards, building a house from the top downwards.

3) ADV: ADV after v, n ADV You use backwards to indicate that something changes or develops in a way that is not an improvement, but is a return to old ideas or methods.

Greater government intervention in businesses would represent a step backwards.

...unshakable traditions that look backward rather than ahead.

4) See also backward
5) PHRASE: PHR after v If someone or something moves backwards and forwards, they move repeatedly first in one direction and then in the opposite direction.

Using a gentle, sawing motion, draw the floss backwards and forwards between the teeth.

...people travelling backwards and forwards to and from London.

to and fro
6) PHRASE: V inflects (emphasis) In British English, if you say that someone knows something backwards, you are emphasizing that they know it very well. In American English, you say that someone knows something backward and forward.

I asked about one or two things that interest me and she really did know it all backwards.

7) to bend over backwardssee bend

English dictionary. 2008.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • backwards — 1510s, from BACKWARD (Cf. backward) with adverbial genitive. Figurative phrase bend over backwards is recorded from 1901 …   Etymology dictionary

  • backwards — [bak′wərdz] adv. BACKWARD * * * …   Universalium

  • backwards — [bak′wərdz] adv. BACKWARD …   English World dictionary

  • Backwards — This article is about the novel by Grant Naylor. For a definition of the word backwards , see the Wiktionary entry [ backwards] . For the Red Dwarf episode, see Backwards (Red Dwarf episode). Infobox Book |… …   Wikipedia

  • backwards */*/ — UK [ˈbækwə(r)dz] / US [ˈbækwərdz] adjective, adverb Summary: Backwards can be used in the following ways: as an adverb: I stepped backwards. more rarely as an adjective: a backwards step 1) if you move or look backwards, you move or look in the… …   English dictionary

  • backwards — back|wards S2 [ˈbækwədz US wərdz] adv also backward [ wəd US wərd] AmE 1.) in the direction that is behind you ≠ ↑forwards ▪ Hannah took a step backward. ▪ She pushed me and I fell backwards into the chair. 2.) towards the beginning or the past ≠ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • backwards — adv. 1 away from one s front (lean backwards; look backwards). 2 a with the back foremost (walk backwards). b in reverse of the usual way (count backwards; spell backwards). 3 a into a worse state (new policies are taking us backwards). b into… …   Useful english dictionary

  • backwards — backward, backwards 1. For the adverb, both forms are in use, although backward is somewhat more common in AmE and backwards in BrE: • Talk ran backward from the events of the morning A. Munro, CanE 1987 • I walked backward to look at her in the… …   Modern English usage

  • backwards —    The notion that walking backwards is unlucky was occasionally noted in the mid 19th century from the Lancashire/ Yorkshire area: [Lancashire] children are frequently cautioned by their parents not to walk backwards when going on an errand; it… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • backwards*/ — [ˈbækwədz] adv 1) in the direction that is behind you The car rolled backwards down the hill.[/ex] 2) in the opposite way or order from usual Count backwards from ten to one.[/ex] Your skirt is on backwards.[/ex] 3) towards a time in the past We… …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

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